Thursday, April 12, 2007

Missional – When a Missional Church Gathers

What happens when a missional church gathers itself together?

Someone recently posed this question to me, so I’ve spent sometime thinking about this.

When a missional church gathers itself together what might it look like?

The first quality I think it should have is that it should gather around its testimony. If the missional church is operating in its sent mode each week, then the people of the church should have testimony of how God is working. These stories should be a building block of the time spent gathered together. Testimony of God’s working is a powerful catalyst for propelling us forward in our mission. It gives us hope that God has not abandoned us and that each of us can be and are being used by Him for His Kingdom.

The second quality would be an attitude, atmosphere and applied sense of worship. We are in awe of the wonder, majesty, grace and all the other qualities of the King. We should approach Him with praise and worship on our lips and hearts. We gather to worship the King.

The third quality should be an incubator of learning. Using all the styles of learning we should creatively present the Word and ingrain it in the hearts of the people. Learning need not only be facilitated by top down learning methods but by, auditory, participatory and visual methods as well.

The fourth quality is fellowship. True fellowship should be nurtured and fostered. We can not be the body of Christ with out being in fellowship with Him and the rest of the body.

Another important quality is remembrance. We need to be reminded of Who God is, What He has done, What we believe, where He has brought us from and the reality of His Kingdom. Remembrance is a centering tool that allows us to place in balance the past, present and future.

One more that I can think of would be commissioning. The sending of the body back into the world to accomplish God’s mission in the coming week. “in your going, DO!” We send those gathered together back into their mission to build the Kingdom as God has called them to do.

I’m sure theres more but these are my initial thoughts.

What do you think?

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Andrew Conard said...

Jerry - Thanks for your thoughts. I think you are right on with the qualities that you have listed here. I particularly think that testimony is a part of gathering as God's people that is important, but something for which the space and time is not always created.

AS said...

I understand the principle of testimony, but from experience it gets hijacked by the same people, who usually recount "success" after "success". I can't remember many times of testimony that didn't leave me feeling like I was a failure for not having a success story for the week.
This would probably be less of an issue in Missional Churches, because what would be counted as success would be different, but to protect people, we'd need to make this a time where the testimony can include not-so-succesful attempts and therefore motivation to pray and support the person telling the story.
With those safeguards, let the stories begin!fxx

stephen said...

as- I, too, shared your concerns with the pride/failure that can sneak in and destroy a community. I wonder if one of the ways to combat this is to challenge it head on. If during each of these time of sharing testimony the community is reminded that it is GOD who works for his good and according to his will, then that might help foster an atmosphere that is focusing on GOD rather than man.

I also think that it would be good to speak in a way that points to the testimony of the group rather than an individual. Perhaps asking, "What is GOD doing through us?" Rather than, "How is GOD using you." Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Jerry... Good thoughts. I do like the testimony part of the service. But I do understand the concerns the others have about the success/ failure syndrome.

I am working towards what could become an alternative service in our church that would be a midweek service... that includes space for people to worship as they wish... a place for a simplistic, creative teaching... communion... fellowship... but I do like the thoughts of testimonies.

One question though is testimonies and rememberance the same thing?

Jess Man said...

I'll also affirm the contribution of testimony of God's work through God's people (the gathered sharing about what happened when scattered).